Don’t look now, but the first place Colorado Rockies are 4-1. On Saturday night Jon Garland pitched well, Michael Cuddyer hit well, and the Rockies continued their trend of making the San Diego Padres pay for mistakes in a 6-3 victory.
The wonderful thing about this first week of 2013 has been the fact that everything has gone well. Starting pitching? Check. Relief pitching? Minus an opening day hiccup, check. Hitting? Check. Base-running? Um….so almost everything has gone well.
Tulo and Helton. Image: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Realistically the Rockies cannot plan on enjoying this type of starting pitching all season. Encouraging though the starts of Jeff Francis and Garland have been, we will need to see how they do against more dangerous Major League lineups to know what the Rockies truly have in the back of the rotation. Garland was masterful in escaping a nobody out, bases loaded jam tonight. Would he be able to do that against the Reds or the Nationals or even the stronger teams in the NL West? Will Francis will able to so completely baffle those more potent lineups? Reminders of pitching mediocrity might still be on the way.
Realistically the Rockies can plan on having this type of offense all season. There has been power, there have been innings where they scraped together singles, and there have been opportunistic at-bats. Take Cuddyer’s night tonight as an example. Early in the game he punched a single to right field to score a run. He didn’t get too big and went with the pitch. Later in the game he hit a home run to pad the team’s lead. When he got a pitch to handle he drove it.
This team is hitting for power without living and dying with the home run ball. They are not getting too big or trying to do too much. That is what lends these early statistics substance and what provides us legitimate hope that the bats can keep this up.